The Irony: Why Other Churches Have Endorsed Mitt Romney, But His Own Won’t

(politicizing)


Our family had dinner with some friends after church yesterday. One of my friends asked me what was said about ‘your guy’ during church services.

I wasn’t sure what she meant at first. And then I realized, “Oh. You mean Mitt Romney? Nope. I didn’t hear his name brought up even once during the four hours I was there.”

That surprised her. Considering it was two days before the election, I think it would surprise many not of my faith.

You see, other churches might tell their members to vote for a certain candidate–say, Mitt Romney. And many have. Religious Leaders down the street from me may publicly endorse Mitt, but ironically, his own church, my LDS/Mormon Church, won’t. Nor will its leaders. 

Why? Because the LDS church remains politically neutral.

Politically Neutral.

Period.

Lest, in our zealousness to have the first Mormon President, we Mormons forget that small little fact, our congregation received several letters this year from Church Headquarters reminding us that our faith remains politically neutral.

Officially, there is not and will not be any endorsement of candidates on either side of the aisle.

Period.

Not even when we have a former LDS Stake President (regional leader of around 7-12 congregations) running for President.

Now…

With that said…

The LDS Church strongly encourages their members to be active in the political process. We are asked from the pulpit to research candidates, both local and federal, and make our best informed decision. That is the case this year, as it has been every year. 

What does that mean?

Many Mormons will be voting for Mitt Romney tomorrow. In fact, I’m guessing that the majority of Mormons in America will be voting for Mitt Romney tomorrow. I’m one of them. While I might not have heard his name brought up in church yesterday, that doesn’t mean people weren’t discussing him. It was just done privately. Individually. Not over the pulpit. Officially.

Which also means there are Mormons who won’t be voting for Mitt Romney tomorrow. And that’s okay. I think. (Just kidding. That’s the Republican in me talking. The Mormon in me says it’s okay.)

In the same breath, I hope Mormons who are voting for Mitt are doing so because of his policies and political stances, not because of his religion. I think it’s safe to say Mitt Romney feels the same way, because to do so would, in a way, be violating his/our beliefs.

The LDS Church remains politically neutral.

Here is the official statement from the LDS Newsroom.

The Church does not:

  • Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
  • Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
  • Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

.

The Church does:

  • Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
  • Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
  • Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
  • Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.

It’s ironic. The first potential Mormon President will not be endorsed by his own church. I just hope people understand why.

.

To read more about LDS political neutrality, go here.

To read my articles on Yahoo! Voices discussing religion and politics, go here.

So…

What are your thoughts on the LDS Church’s stance on political neutrality? Are you for or against it? Should more churches remain politically neutral? If your church encourages you to vote for a certain candidate, do you listen? Comment here.

.

Related Articles:

Be Careful Who Your Disdain Targets–Why Romney Would Be A Great President

Mormonism 101

Are Mormons Christians

My first article as a Yahoo Contributor

(contributing)

Well, my heart is beating a little faster this morning. I’ve written my first article as a Yahoo Contributor. Last week I wrote a post for this blog that I never posted. I decided it was a little too controversial. So what did I do? :)  I submitted to Yahoo and it’s up today. It’s political and religious, two hot topics. You can check it out here:

http://voices.yahoo.com/be-careful-disdain-targets-why-romney-would-11251038.html?cat=34

If you want to be nice, share it with people you think would be interested. If you want to be extra nice, leave a comment (a nice comment). Have a great day!!!

Vote

(politicizing)


I exercised today. Shocking, right? Not really. I exercised my right to vote.

I like following politics, especially in an election year. My philosophy (as a US citizen) is that you can’t complain about the state of your government if you don’t vote. Today is Michigan’s GOP primary, as well as Arizona’s, which means I have been BOMBARDED with phone calls recently. I think I got 12 yesterday alone. I know there are a lot of commercials on TV as well, but thankfully, I don’t watch much TV. Even then, I’m very glad today is finally here to give me a small break from the heavy campaigning. Living in a swing state, I’m sure it will be bad come November. 

However…I have to remind myself that it all serves a purpose. They want us to care, to listen, to get involved and make an educated decision. 

So if you happen to live in Michigan (like me) or Arizona and are a Republican, please go exercise this amazing right and VOTE. And for those from the next 20 states who will vote in the next month, be ready. We’ve been given a voice. So let’s use it. :)

Republicans: If you aren’t sure when your primary is, check out this list here.

Everyone else: November will come soon enough. 



related post: Mitt for Mormonism?

Mitt for Mormonism?

(politicizing)



My short answer is “No!” But maybe not for the reason you think.

I’m feeling a little political today, probably because my religion is hitting the papers again. And I know that of the three things you shouldn’t discuss in public, religion and politics are two of them. But hey, the media started it. Plus, this is my blog. I get to talk about what I want.

Every time I see a new headline with the words “LDS” or “Mormon,” I cringe, thinking, “Oh boy. What are they going to get wrong now?” Sad, isn’t it? I’ve turned into such a skeptic. In the media’s defense, I will say that the overall coverage on Mitt Romney’s religion has been more accurate this time around. 2008 was a major-cringe year for me. I’m sure it has to be difficult to try and define the LDS/Mormon religion to people who’ve either never heard of us, or have only heard the ‘dark,’ but ridiculously false rumors.

Still…

The funny thing is that I cringe almost as badly when I see articles written by Mormons, because, let’s face it, even some Mormons define my religion differently than I would or do. For example, there’s an article in the NY Daily today by Ken Jennings entitled:

“How Mormons See the World.” 
(my shoulder muscles are tensing up just typing that title)

I guess the article gains a little credibility because it’s written by a Mormon but, no offense to Ken Jennings, who is he to speak for 14 million other Mormons? Who are any of us for that matter? Obviously our leader, President Thomas S. Monson, would be the only definitive source, but I don’t picture him using such sweeping generalizations either. I mean, put any other group of people in that title, and see how it sits with you: 

“How Do Catholics See the World?” 
“How Do African-Americans See the World?” 
“How Do Middle-aged Women See the World?”
“How Do Martians See the World?” (That one might have a little credibility. Then again, maybe not. Maybe one Martian sees our far away world differently than the next.) 

It’s possible Ken Jennings didn’t create the title. I can see the NY Daily doing it to generate some readers. Either way, it still bugs me.


I personally think the article would have been better titled, “How a Mormon Sees the World.” Or “How some Mormons See the World.” I just really hate absolutes. If all 14 million Mormons saw the world in the same way, we wouldn’t have politicians on both sides of the US table.
For example…
Mitt Romney
Jon Huntsman
Harry Reid
Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader-Democrat) have very different views of the world and America, and yet they are all Mormon. As a Republican, I personally don’t agree with Harry Reid’s democratic view, but another Mormon friend of mine might not agree with Mitt Romney’s. And that’s fine. If you aren’t aware, the LDS Church is politically neutral. They do not and have not endorsed a specific candidate or political party. I like that. So if someone wants to write an article entitled “How Mormons See the World,” they better have an awfully large umbrella to lump us under.
One thing Jennings said that I agree with is that Romney’s rise “makes us (some of us at least) uncomfortable. What will they say about Mormons at work every time Romney makes a debate gaffe or an unpopular policy move?” With few non-LDS people in the media actually having a good, accurate grasp on the LDS Church, it makes me squirm to have Romney as the ‘new face’ for the religion. I personally think he’s a good, decent guy, and even a good Mormon. But he’s still a politician. And even the best politicians get ripped to shreds. And make mistakes. I don’t like the thought of my church being ripped to shreds right along with him. So yes. Having Romney as the front-runner makes me a little nervous.

However…

Having Romney in the spotlight has allowed many people around the country to sift through a lot of the myths and see our religion more clearly. And really, if I had to choose between those three politicians to represent my faith—Romney, Reid, or Huntsman—I would choose Romney because at least when he’s asked, “Are you a Mormon?” he gives a “Yes, and proud of it!” answer without worrying about the political fallout. From what I’ve seen of the other two, Huntsman and Harry Reid tend to stutter out an answer and try to change the subject quickly. And call me crazy, but I actually like that Romney donated a substantial portion of his money to a charitythat is known around the world for its humanitarian efforts

Ugh. The media.

Do any other Mormons out there cringe when you see headlines pop up? Am I just overly-sensitive? How about non-Mormons? Do you think we’re too sensitive on this? (Ha, you thought I just asked a sweeping generalization, didn’t you? I was testing you. If you answer choose to answer the last question, feel free to answer about me personally or another Mormon you know.)

Related blog post: Are Mormons Christian?
                           Mormonism 101

Are Mormons Christian?

(teaching)

Honestly, I’m growing tired of this question. I know I shouldn’t be because it is a privilege to proclaim my belief in Christ over and over again—plus, I have the feeling this question isn’t going away anytime soon. But in my experience, a large number of people who ask this question think they already know the answer. To me it’s ignorant to say Mormons aren’t Christian. The official church title is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Easy enough, right? I wish.

It seems like the LDS Church is tiring of this question as well because last week, when things heated up in the political scene and the Church was questioned on this topic—again—they simply referred people to mormon.org and told them to do their own research. (http://newsroom.lds.org/article/church-response-to-not-christian)
On a personal level, I’m the gospel doctrine teacher in my congregation—the Sunday School teacher for adults. This year we are studying the New Testament and right now specifically, the Pauline epistles. This has been so fascinating to me because I have been closely following politics at the same time. When I take something I love (my LDS faith, the New Testament, and politics) and throw it all together, I’m suddenly bursting with things to say.
In case you didn’t know, there are two Mormon/LDS candidates running for US President. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.
Because of their religion, there are some Americans who are questioning whether Romney or Huntsman would be a good candidate. I take offense to that. I greatly take offense to that. If you want to reject a candidate based on their social issues, foreign policy, or their economic plan, fine. But religion?
As I teach Sunday School each week and study the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles, I am seeing huge parallels between what happened to the early Christian Church—specifically with Gentile converts—and what is happening to Mormons today.
The Jews who had converted to Christianity were some of the early leaders after Christ’s death, and incidentally also the missionaries sent out to spread the gospel. But as the gospel spread, and as more and more people outside the Jewish beliefs joined Christianity, some of the Jews suddenly cried, “Outrage! They believe differently than us, therefore they are not Christian!”
For example in Acts 15, the people from Judaea were saying that “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses; ye cannot be saved.” (Sounds kind of like, “Except Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman believe our interpretation of the New Testament, they cannot be saved).  Chapter fifteen goes on to say that they had “no small dissension and disputation with them.” Sounds familiar.
In consequence, all the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem to settle this matter. Once the decision was reached, Peter then says that to the Jews, “God, which knoweth the hearts (of the Gentiles), bear them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.” In other words, God is the judge, and he judges them to be Christian.
Yet the contention continued. Many Jewish Christians couldn’t stand it and Christianity began to spread more quickly among the Gentiles than with the Jews. The Epistle to the Hebrews seems to be Paul’s firm warning to them: “You better be careful Jews,” was his basic message, “Lest in your zealousness, you completely miss the mark. You think you know what salvation is, but I’m telling you, you only know the half of it.”
Now…there are obvious differences between Gentiles and Mormons and Jews and mainstream Christians today, however, the story has many similarities.  And rhetoric.

“Hey! They don’t believe exactly like I do. What the heck?! They must not be Christian!”

I guess we never learn, do we?
So as a Mormon/LDS member, how do I define the word Christian? Well, a Christian is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and Son of God. Someone who believes He is our Redeemer and the only way by which we can return to our Father.  Since I believe all these things strongly, as do my fellow Mormons (see mormon.org), I state that we are resoundingly Christian.
(I have to add an amendment in here. For those not of our faith who are defending our faith either privately or publicly–Thank You!)

To end, I quote my favorite scripture from The Book of Mormon which, by the way, is sub-titled Another Testament of Christ.
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)  If that isn’t ‘Christian’ I don’t know what is.
To borrow from the Mormon media campaign…“My name is Rebecca. I’m an author, a composer, a mother, a Mormon, and I’m a Christian.”
FYI…List of famous Mormons you may have heard of:

Politics:
  • Mitt Romney, GOP front-runner for the 2012 Presidential election
  • Jon Huntsman, GOP candidate for the 2012 Presidential election
  • Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader: Democrat
  • Glenn Beck, Political Commentator, Radio Broadcaster, and NY Times Bestseller
  • Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, and a whole slew of Senators, Representatives, and Governors across America (16 total).
Sports:
  • Jimmer Fredette, NCAA 2011 Basketball National Player of the year and current guard for the Sacramento Kings
  • Steve Young, former NFL quarterback
  • I know there are a bunch of others, but I don’t really follow sports. There’s a list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latter_Day_Saints
Entertainment:
  • Gladys Knight, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
  • Donny and Marie Osmond, singers, actors
  • Neon Trees, rock band
  • Stephen R. Covey, motivational speaker and author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective…
  • Richard and Linda Eyre, motivational speakers and NY Times Bestselling authors
  • Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Jon Heder, otherwise known as Napoleon Dynamite
  • Rick Schroeder, actor
  • David Archuleta, American Idol Runner-up
  • Six contestants on last season’s “Biggest Loser” TV show
  • The 5 Browns, famous classical piano siblings
NY Times Best-selling Authors (this gets its own category since there are so many I follow):
  • Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series
  • Ally Condie, author of “Matched”
  • Richard Paul Evans, author of “The Christmas Box”
  • Orson Scott Card, Shannon Hale, James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Jason F. Wright, etc.
Business:
  • David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue airlines
  • Bill Marriott, CEO of Marriott hotels
  • CEO of Black and Decker
  • Former CEO of Dell
  • And a whole bunch of others.
Chances are, at least a few of those Mormons have influenced you in a positive way.